Fancy Mike returns with his long-awaited follow-up to Madison Square Gardner, and after two years of adventures such as spending a year teaching in France, sharing the stage with some of his favorite artists and writing his first novel, the evolution in his sound is impressive.
Making appearances on Mary B. James are pianos, sitars, steel drums, horns, rich synth melodies, bone-rattling bass and more but overall this is a complete work, linked together spaciously into a kind of Midwest Minimalism. Very much worth the wait.
Mastered by Shawn Hatfield
Artwork by Austin Breed
Video by Alexandre Louvenaz
Fancy Mike, who was the first artist to sign to Canadian imprint King Deluxe back in 2010, dropped his latest LP, Mary B. James, just this week, and has shared the title track off that album to mark the occasion. Although Fancy Mike describes the music as “Midwest minimal,” “Mary B. James” radiates tropical heat from elements that don’t quite bring to mind corn fields—like, say, the steel drums and clattering percussion which dance alongside buttery synth swells and subdued bass tones.
Fancy Mike returns to Canada’s King Deluxe label with a clutch of sideward synth cues and offbeat drum programming. At times he sounds like Kuedo ‘Vangelis Horse’, at others going for the Giallo style ‘VVVV, 1977’, and others like Dylan Ettinger on ‘Alien vs Predator’ or even Michael Diekmann on the curiously exotic arrangement of ‘Pink Flamingo’. Really good stuff.
Kids stuck on purple could be awed into a world of neon lights and dark nights, that slip into psychedelic dreams surrounded by tropical things. The softmore album Mary B. James, by Fancy Mike explores sounds that are tirelessly illuminating a less than bright backdrop of post electro, and retro 80′s pop that is as minimal as it is hedonistic.
A sheer contrast to his debut LP Madison Square Gardner, a heavily layered and complex release, Mike practices self restraint on Mary B. James, imagining the possibility of this album being performed live. Overall this new approach makes his music more approachable, but without compromising the structure of his work.
This experimental retro-pop album is rich and saturated, practically dripping with lush synthesis, the persistence warmth of bass and digital horns that run like a less bluesy interpretation, and at times feels like bits from the Blade Runner soundtrack (Vangelis).
Fancy Mike goes even further to enforce the sounds of an era on “Miami Vice”, an ode to Ferrari Daytona’s, and Testarossa’s, Colombian cocaine and white blazers. While it’s completely unfair to make any comparisons to any post-pop culture themes, they simply serve as a reference. Ripping a slice out of time, not borrowing any of the sounds or running themes at all, but instead owning them.
If you haven’t heard the name Fancy Mike before now, don’t stress. The man is an incredible beatmaker, but that’s hardly all he does. Real name Mike Kleine, Fancy Mike spent the last two years on adventures of all sorts, two of which resulted in a completed novel and some time spent teaching in France. Hell, his personal website is MikeDoesEverything.tumblr.com. So, if you didn’t catch his debut release, Madison Square Gardener, when it dropped two years ago, that’s okay. He was busy anyway. But now is as good a time as ever to introduce yourself to this midwesterner with a knack for injecting tangible life into downtempo vibes.
His sophomore effort, an 8-track LP titled Mary B. James, dropped last week, and although it’s a bit more sparse, the breadth and completeness allow this album to surpass his first. It’s hard to describe this release, really. How can something have so little, but sound so precise; how can it be so simply designed, but engage the listener so fully. I have found myself repetitively spinning this LP the past seven days trying to answer these questions, but perhaps they’re not meant to be answered. Whether he’s toying with College-y synths in “Miami Vice,” steel drums on the title track, or constructing a haunting melody on, dare I say, the LP’s best cut, “VVVV, 1977,” he does so with a sense of purpose, resulting in true minimalist mastery.
A ride from the beach to the city in a Lamborghini sounds fun enough as it is, but what would send it into pleasure overdrive is if you were doing it in an animated, 80s-sheen world that turns extra psychedelic right when you make it into town. Throw in the power of invisibility and an oversized baseball hat, and you’re living “Miami Vice,” the new video from Fancy Mike by animator Alexandre Louvenaz.
The aesthetic of intense neon colors on a black background goes from a more simple video-game-style visual to something a bit more sinister and psychedelic—animals, demons, and monsters popping out left and right, until you finally blast off into the cosmos. Oh yeah, and there is a gang of angry-looking unicorns in there as well, looking like Lisa Frank’s worst nightmare.
We recently featured Fancy Mike’s “Ramachandran” in our LAYERS column. His new album Mary B. James, named in reference to Aphex Twin’s classic Richard D. James, is even more stripped down than his previous work, packed with infectious 80s style bangers that you’ll fall in love with, particularly if you dug the soundtrack from Drive…
The new Fancy Mike video for “Miami Vice” is off the hook, piecing together the essential elements of trippy animation, 80′s synth vibes and pimp shit. If you like the vibes of Com Truise then you will dig this song and the entire “Mary B. James” project from Mike. Take a listen and support the artist if you like it!
After two years in the making Mary B. James gets its long awaited release and Fancy Mike doesn’t disappoint. sit back, buckle up and prepare to be taken back to a time when the Roland ruled the waves.
Producer Fancy Mike lays down some super 80’s techno beats in Miami Vice. The title itself is obviously a reference to that 80’s retro style. Nothing beats Don Johnson in a leisure suit, right? The video for the track fits the acidic techno feel of the track. It’s really quite epic. Along with an awesome psychedelic Lamborghini, there’s also some really random imagery like that dinosaur thing at the end. It’s as trippy and deliciously synthy as can be.
Bohater wideoklipu do Miami Vice wyrusza w nocną, powrotną przejażdżkę swoim lamborghini z plaży do znajdującego się w płomieniach miasta. Wyprawie towarzyszą oniryczne/mitologiczne postacie oraz zdarzenia rodem z surrealistycznych wizji. Psychodeliczny klimat podkreśla warstwa wizualna teledysku: mocno kontrastujące z czernią tła intensywnie neonowe barwy, które stanowią podstawowy budulec przedstawionego świata.